THE Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed in the green on Wednesday on hopes of a further easing in current restrictions amid cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country, with the country’s vaccination program also progressing.

The benchmark PSEi went up by 144.53 points or 2.33% to close at 6,341.24 on Wednesday. The broader all shares index also improved by 64.61 points or 1.68% to 3,899.39.

“Market rebounded strongly [on Wednesday] in anticipation of further easing announcement from the government starting next month as infection rates continued on the downtrend, though health-care system [is] still [overwhelmed] with [the] double-digit death rate,” Aniceto K. Pangan, equity trader at Diversified Securities, Inc., said in a text message.

Meanwhile, AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said the market “roared back to life”, recording its biggest daily jump in the past three months.

“This is the first time that investors were willing to come in at higher prices after just supporting most issues as they went lower in the last three months,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

“Investors may start to gain confidence and finally appreciate the positive vaccine developments,” he added.

The Health department reported 5,310 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total infections to 1.19 million. Active cases stood at 46,037, with a positivity rate of 13.5%.

Meanwhile, 150 deaths were logged on Wednesday, bringing the country’s death toll to 20,169. The Health department also reported 7,408 new recoveries, which brought the total to 1.13 million.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte was set to address the nation on Wednesday evening and was expected to announce new quarantine measures as current restrictions are only in effect until this week.

All sectoral indices posted gains on Wednesday. Property climbed by 89.35 points or 3.01% to 3,052; holding firms went up by 151.60 points or 2.44% to finish at 6,344.26; services improved by 31.61 points or 2.18% to 1,478.71; mining and oil gained 134.76 points or 1.46% to 9,332.64; financials moved up by 18.36 points or 1.33% to 1,394.56; and industrials increased by 66.32 points or 0.77% to end at 8,601.42.

Advancers outperformed decliners, 140 against 74, while 47 names closed unchanged.

Value turnover soared to P13.09 billion on Wednesday with 1.26 billion shares switching hands, from the P6.02 billion with 1.16 billion issues traded on Tuesday.

Net foreign selling ballooned to P6.48 billion on Wednesday from the P88.89 million in net outflows logged on Tuesday.

“The big question is whether this is the beginning of a new rally or if it is just window dressing for the end of the month,” Mr. Mangun said. “The next few trading days will reveal this to us.” — KCGV